One of the chief teachings of Scripture can be found in these words: we are in the world, but we are not of the world. To be sure, there was a time when we were “of the world” because we were children of Adam. Adam and Eve fell when they disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, and so did all of humanity. Paul wrote to you and me and all of humanity, saying . . .
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sin, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. (Ephesians 2:1-2)
But all that changed when Jesus intervened and raised us from death to life. Because He is not of the world, all those He has saved are no longer of the world. We are still in the world and will be until Jesus calls us home. But along the way to the Celestial City, we must remember that we no longer belong to the world. We belong to Christ.
I will make a distinction between my people and your people. This sign will occur tomorrow. (Exodus 8:23)
Even though we are still in this world, God has made a distinction between His people and the people of the world. As we look at the words above, which the Lord commanded Moses to speak to Pharaoh, we remember that the Pharaoh of Egypt had a people and the Lord of heaven and earth had a people. And God declared a difference between both of these groups. If God is making a distinction between His people and the people of this world, we must be totally committed to keeping up this distinction for all the world to see. Remember, we were bought at the greatest price known to man: the precious blood of the sinless Lamb of God.
So how are we to live out this distinction that truly makes us different? Think about it this way: we make a difference by being different from this world. We are to be different in . . .
- Our goals
- Our plans
- Our purposes
- Our agenda
- Our accomplishments
- Our thoughts, words, and deeds
The list, of course, could go on for several pages. Before God made this distinction, we were under His condemnation and judgment. But then we were brought into the kingdom of the Son He loves, and there is now no condemnation for all those who are in Christ. On the cross, Jesus took all our condemnation and drank all the cup of wrath; when He said, “It is finished,” He meant what He said! So our focus now is to engage with this fallen and broken world, as fallen and broken people who make a difference in this world by being different from this world.
Perhaps today you’d like to spend some time thinking about some of the changes you might need to make for this distinction to become the confession of your life.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!